Language, Identity and (In)Security in India-Pakistan Relations: The Case of Kashmir

Matthew Hill, Nishank Motwani

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article revisits the Kashmir dispute by examining the interactions between language, religion and political dynamics to show how, in the post-1947 struggle, Kashmir's identity has increasingly been folded into the Indian and Pakistani language of a zero-sum conflict and nationalistic self-assertion. Paradoxically, Kashmir's position has weakened within a plural India even though Kashmir validates New Delhi's claim to religious and cultural heterogeneity. In Pakistan, Kashmir's diversity is dismissed because it disrupts Pakistan's unitary national identity centred on Islam and Urdu. By deliberately treating Kashmir as a homogenous Islamic entity, Pakistan seeks to attain legitimacy for its national imaginary as a pure Islamic state. Consequently, the capacity for Kashmir to actualise its own identity has diminished as it has been rendered hostage to the feuding of two behemoth imagined communities'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-145pp
    JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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